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ADD-triggered anxiety?


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Hello, help.

I'm up a tree here. I'm usually disorganized, of course, and a little stress (like an upcoming meeting or whatever) usually serves to help me get my butt in gear. But what do I do when a WHOLE BUNCH OF STUFF is now due and none of it is done?

In low-stress ADD-mode, I can simply go play solitaire when it gets to be too much info in my small brain. But now the stress is too big--to the point where I'm paralyzed. Now I obsessively play Solitaire. My house is a mess and a friend is coming over on Friday, so I have to clean up a bit. And I leave for a business trip next Tuesday, and have manymanymany things to do before then. And I am planning a short trip to the US, but can't get to planning that either. All I see are the problems posed by each task, and I just shut down.

Oh my, so much to do. I get like Rain Man, just sitting catatonically, occasionally peeking out, looking at the mountains of papers around my desk, freaking, then going back to hide.

Ritalin does nothing. Effex seems to be working okay, except that the pesky short temper seems to be rearing its ugly head again. Anyone have any ideas?

lily

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Hello, help.

I'm up a tree here. I'm usually disorganized, of course, and a little stress (like an upcoming meeting or whatever) usually serves to help me get my butt in gear. But what do I do when a WHOLE BUNCH OF STUFF is now due and none of it is done?

In low-stress ADD-mode, I can simply go play solitaire when it gets to be too much info in my small brain. But now the stress is too big--to the point where I'm paralyzed. Now I obsessively play Solitaire. My house is a mess and a friend is coming over on Friday, so I have to clean up a bit. And I leave for a business trip next Tuesday, and have manymanymany things to do before then. And I am planning a short trip to the US, but can't get to planning that either. All I see are the problems posed by each task, and I just shut down.

Oh my, so much to do. I get like Rain Man, just sitting catatonically, occasionally peeking out, looking at the mountains of papers around my desk, freaking, then going back to hide.

Ritalin does nothing. Effex seems to be working okay, except that the pesky short temper seems to be rearing its ugly head again. Anyone have any ideas?

lily

Don't look at the big picture. Make a list of everything that needs to be done in order of priority. Get rid of everything but the top three things. You now only have three things to do. Focus on the first one. Break it down into component subtasks. Make a new list. Never have more than three things to do on the list.

Uninstall solitaire.

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Don't look at the big picture. Make a list of everything that needs to be done in order of priority. Get rid of everything but the top three things. You now only have three things to do. Focus on the first one. Break it down into component subtasks. Make a new list. Never have more than three things to do on the list.

Uninstall solitaire.

yeah, what he said. When I get where you are, Lily, I'm usually piss poor broke too and have to talk to people about paying them and the house and the kids and the diseases and, and, and...

I freak out. I get into the fetal position and obsess about obsessing and pain.

This is when I call in the calvary, my mom, who sits beside me on the floor--yes, I still have not bought beds, we are on futons--and makes me break it down FOR HER, but so I can hear it myself. What needs to happen TODAY. And then break it down. She has been a lifesaver recently but is really pretty sick herself, but she can still take little e and feed him and he hangs with them while I get a grip. Big E can fend for himself.

I don't know if you have your japanese mom to help or anyone for that matter, but my mom is constantly fussing at me to stop waiting til I'm circling the drain to get her help.

You know too that I'm very ADD'led and unmedicated because I can't take my medicine like a big girl, I have to take 30 days supply in one week. Woot!

So I'm banned from stims. But I don't have a big, big job like you do either.

My heart is in it with you girl.

Love you all over this place!

S9

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Can you call for some benzos? I see you have the effexor and ritalin but maybe the ritalin with the stress is pushing things too closely and causing you upset. Or drink just ONE beer and do tasks from the smallest to the largest. (Like clean out all the old receipts from your purse, then pick up any visible trash and dump it, then take a handful of papers and put it in three piles-now, later, when-the-hell-ever, then clean the tub, then etc...) that way you're switching tasks but getting things done. talk on the phone or play music(if it comforts you) while doing it. no more solataire missy.

you can do it-baby steps

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Thanks everyone. I have tried to uninstall Solitaire but the rat bastard won't leave!

Now, now, just what are benzo's? I don't have any and don't know what they are. I will go look 'em up, of course, but are these anti-anxiety pills?

lily, still farting around

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Its funny you mention this, because Ive been going through the exact same thing. I have to concur on the ideas, of breaking down the tasks onto smaller tasks. whats helps me is to also find an outlet to organzie my brain while Im doing those taks. To not sound crazy, I "self mediate". Ehem* i mean that i talk to myself. you can also, as suggested, listen to music or find something else (besides solitare) to help you through the tasks. when that occurs, you lessen the anxiety with the outlets.

benzos are Benzodiazepines, in which most commonly used as anti-anxiety medications. they are ususally fast acting, and are known . to take the edge off of anxiety. anyway, more at crazymeds (http://www.crazymeds.us/benzo.html).

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These are some of the names of benzos

Ativan (lorazepam), Klonopin (clonazepam), Librium (chlordiazepoxide), Tranxene (clorazepate dipotassium), Valium / Diastat (diazepam), Xanax (alprazolam)

call the doc tell him you're having a serious issue and you would like a prescription NOW to help with the anxiety. I'm not sure which one is easiest to get where you are but whatever is fastest is great. I like klonopin and valium but lots of folks out there are great with ativan and xanax.

get better soon

lilie

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Most docs won't mix benzos and stimulants. They won't help a whole lot other than make you not care as much if you don't get stuff done and i'm nost sure that's where you want to go. This i an ADD overload thing, not a pure anxiety thing. If you can work that way, a glass of wine while you're working might help break through the lockup.

You're on effexor and rit, right?

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yeah, i have untreated ADD, and it helps me, like VE said, to break up my tasks. i'll tell myself that i'll do this or that small thing in 15 minutes, and then take a break to do something fun/brainless, and pick it up again after that. when i get overwhelmed i'll also have a glass of wine and try to chill out. all good advice.

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Thanks everyone, Yeah, as VE pointed out, it's ADD-driven (I think). I come home and crash and avoid thinking about anything, then come into work and do really well. As long as I can take my mind off the crap piling up, I'm okay--tho not for the long term. Because the crap continues to pile, and time runs out.

I'd like to think this is resolvable using coping strategies that I don't have in place yet.

The other thing is, the anxiety is limited to my overdue projects (which admittedly are taking over my whole fookin life). My work is high-stress (I think a lot of ADD folks like this) in a good, adrenaline-pumping way, and that doesn't make me anxious at all.

Hokay, thank you again everyone! I'm pretty close to bottoming out and having to recover as things come due, so I guess I will keep trying to look for coping strategies, and keep trying to uninstall the holy trinity of Evil, Solitaire, Free Cell and Mine Sweeper.

lily

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Here are some specific suggestions:

Get some exercise early in the day, and maybe again half way through. Doesn't have to last long. Five or ten minutes will make a difference. This isn't to get in shape, it's to fix your head. If you're particularly anxious, a walk is very good, and can be longer. At any time.

Take all your tasks and try to break them up into pretty small pieces. Write them on Post It notes. Sort into three categories: mandatory, high, and optional. Be ruthless about putting things into optional. Polishing the silverware is optional. If you're not ruthless on purpose now, you will be by accident later. Throw away the optionals, or at least hide them someplace and don't take them out until you feel a lot better. Take a filing folder and stick the mandatories on the left hand inside, the next highest on the right hand inside. Take two mandatories and a high or mandatory and stick them on the outside front. Work these problems. When you get one done, pick another from inside. When you get something done, stick the Post It on the wall where you can see it often. It's important to keep track of what you've done so you know you're making progress. Not that I can do this myself, but it seem like it would be good if I could.

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Well sweetie, it's good to know you're not alone, right? Suggestions that seem good, from folks who even use them...

I really like VE's: Never have more than three things to do on the list. And the 3 things are the littlest subtasks...not the bigger picture, like he said.

Wish I had S9's mom to sit with me and help me "prioritize." Hard to self "prioritize," for me anyway. Really hard.

I agree with VE that most docs won't mix benzo's with stimulants. (My sister does them both, ritalin during the day, ativan at night. I don't recommend it unless the doc agrees and it is very temporary. the benzo for sleep helps turn off the terrors of not getting the stuff done and can help with sleep.) Me, I'd never take them together.

Lily, what you wrote about doing well at work and coming home and crashing, I get it, I think. I do well at work most of the time, focused and absorbed. Then home and block out stuff which doesn't help if there are things at home too that are needing to be done and overwhelming, and I'm just blocking it out cause I have just done this great job at work so crashing at home feels so ok...but it isn't, really ok. Jeesh this stuff is hard...

I think you are right Lil that it's resolvable using coping skills you don't have yet. (when you figger it out, share how it works for you)

This is kind of silly, but I remember having had mono in H.S. and then playing catch up with studying for finals and taking the finals. I'd plan to study at night, which I would do. For hours. BUT. Every 25 minutes I would plan a break. I think I did physical exercise then. Sit ups. Running up and down the stairs, making decaf milky coffees, then back to it. Worked then, probably wouldn't now, I don't know.

I really like VE's never having more than three things to do on the list. And Ido's folder with the stickies, and then putting the finished sticky on the wall to see the progress. Builds momentum. Did something like that with studying for the CPA exam, which I passed...had sheets of paper on the wall, with the units to be studied on the left, and then projected how many fifteen minute increments each unit needed. I'd set a goal of so much time during the day, then put nice big check marks next to each fifteen minute period I'd spent. This was to make sure I would pass it. This was more long term than what you are describing, I think.

Well you are not alone. And I'm sticking with the 3 things rule.

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time....

Luli

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  • 1 year later...

I'm not sure whether I have ADD or not, but what sometimes helps me to get stuff done is doing what Elvis says: Breaking a major task into smaller, more manageable tasks.

When I had to redo my pets' tank this week (and I say "had to" because, if I didn't do it while I wanted to, it would still not be done now) instead of freaking out (which almost happened, actually) about having to redo, clean, and replace over 150 pounds of sand, rocks, furniture, and mold, I mentally broke it into chunks.

Get trash bags...check.

Take furniture out and put it on trash bags...check.

Clean furniture on trash bags...check.

Put sands in baking pans...check.

Put baking pans in the oven...check.

Bake the pans...check.

And so on. It also helped that I was planning (procrastinating) doing this for months in advance. If you think it will help you, make a plan of attack, and one day, you might get up and feel well enough to actually do your plan-My plan was in my head, but putting it on paper would also be worthwhile. Also, set up some kind of reward at the end, or after doing a huge chunk of a larger project for yourself-I treated myself to an ice-cream sundae after finishing my pets' tank. That way, when I was washing the tank out with a hose, or scrubbing it with vinegar, I was thinking "Butter pecan ice cream sundae...butter pecan ice cream sundae!" That reward can also be a fun exercise or activity as mentioned above. Taking breaks after certain important chunks also made this project of mine easier to accomplish.

Sigh...now if only I could get my clothes out of the huge piles in my room and laundry room, clean up over a months worth of receipts from work on my dresser, clean up my old school things, finish cleaning up from remodeling my pets' tank, washing my sheets from my dog having her first period on them, organizing the crap in my closet and under my bed, putting the coins all over my room in my bank, and clearing over three month's worth of dust out of my room...

By the way, my escape game isn't solitaire, but World of Warcraft ;) .

Doing that relating thing again, NeedsALife!

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Yo NeedsA, thanks for adding this! I just hopped on and found a thread I started a year ago (and have since forgotten), and am still farting around. So re-reading this helped. And yeah, I clicky'd on your blacked-out part. I smell some ADD in here! But I'm just a whack, not a doctor, tho I play one on TV.

Thanks again, man.

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